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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05SANAA1360 2005-05-24 13:32:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Sanaa
Cable title:  

SHURA LEADER ON HUNT OIL EXTENSION, AL-HOUTHI AND

Tags:   PREL PGOV PTER PHUM ECON YM DOMESTIC POLITICS COM ENERGY 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SANAA 001360 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/21/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM ECON YM DOMESTIC POLITICS ECON COM ENERGY
SUBJECT: SHURA LEADER ON HUNT OIL EXTENSION, AL-HOUTHI AND
PROPOSED PRESS LAW

REF: A. SANAA 1282

B. SANAA 2863

Classified By: Ambassador Thomas Krajeski for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: On May 17 Ambassador met with Shura Council
Chairman Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani. Discussions centered on the
canceled Hunt Oil extension for Block 18, ongoing violence in
Saada, and the controversial draft press law. On the Hunt
extension (ref A), Ghani expressed optimism that a deal could
still be reached, despite the cabinet's support for
Parliament's cancellation of the extension agreement. Ghani
rebuked al-Houthi (the father) for refusing Saleh's offer of
a peace agreement, delivered by Shura Council members,
guaranteeing his safety. He also said the Council was still
debating its official position on the draft press law and did
not want to directly interfere. End Summary.



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Still Hope for Hunt?


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2. (C) Ghani assured Ambassador that Hunt could still strike
a deal with Parliament to extend its operating license for
Block 18. This despite a May 2 letter from the Ministry of
Oil to Hunt confirming the Cabinet's support for Parliament's
cancellation of the deal. Ghani was confident that, "under
certain conditions," Parliament could still be persuaded to
reverse its decision, saying he believed that Hunt remains
the leading candidate and claimed the American company is
"willing to agree with whatever Parliament says." (Comment:
Ghani's rosy outlook on a ROYG-Hunt agreement on Block 18
contradicts all other evidence, which indicates that Hunt
faces a difficult road ahead in extending their contract and
plans to the take the ROYG to the ICC in Paris. End Comment).



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"Fanatics" Who Refuse to Save Face


--------------------------





3. (C) On the ongoing clashes between government forces and
al-Houthi supporters in Saada, Ghani rebuked the insurgents
for refusing Saleh's offer of a "face saving" peace. Calling
them fanatics, Ghani said the best advice the Shura Council
could offer to President Saleh would be to "crush the
insurrection." Ghani said that once the public received a
frank accounting of the affair, public support would be
solidly in favor of Saleh.



--------------------------


Draft Press Law


--------------------------





4. (C) Ambassador praised the ROYG for attempting to redraft
its press law (ref B) in order to expand journalists' rights
and freedoms. Ghani shared that the Shura Council is still
debating its official position on the new law, but echoed
Ambassador in his hopes that the ROYG will bring journalists
into the process before sending the draft to Parliament.
Krajeski